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Ana's Journey to the Edge for breast cancer charity Walk the Walk

As a person of faith, I had wanted to do the Camino for a few years but there were other reasons for signing up this year apart from supporting the fight against breast cancer in memory of my mother.

I am sitting here with the impossible task of writing about my experience of the Journey to the Edge of the World challenge and already know words or photographs will never convey the amazing life enhancing experience it has been for me. It is less than 2 days since I took my last step and celebrated with the wonderful women I had the privilege to share this experience with and I am still buzzing, on cloud nine, and trying to process all the emotions; but one thing I know for certain is that I am full of gratitude. 

I am grateful to have decided to sign up and to have trained fully and conscientiously. Grateful  for my body and spirit that did not give up even when it felt like I couldn’t walk another step, for my shoes and feet as I was lucky and did not suffer with any blisters and more importantly grateful for the team spirit that developed as we got to know each other, accepted and respected our uniqueness as human beings and really came together to support each other and to share the highs and the lows in true comradeship.  

At this moment I feel I have 16 new friends, including our wonderful guide Nacho. We might not stay in touch despite all the good intentions but we will always have this experience as a bond that binds us together and that no one else can share because we lived it and more importantly achieved it together.

So why did I do it? 

I lost my mother 27 years ago to breast cancer when she was only 48 and I was turning 27 – she died on my birthday. This year as I was turning 54, I was aware that after this birthday I would be living longer without my mum in my life than I had lived with her in it. I knew she had died very young but the longer I live after turning 48 (the age she was when she died) the more I realise how much she missed and it makes me really endeavour to live an even fuller life not just for me but for her! In these last 27 years I have done many other challenges and have supported other breast cancer charities and despite volunteering at the Walk the Walk office and marshalling at the Moon Walk in the last 2 years, this was my first time doing a challenge with Walk the Walk.

As a person of faith, I had wanted to do the Camino for a few years but there were other reasons for signing up this year apart from supporting the fight against breast cancer in memory of my mother. Firstly, one of my good friends lost her vibrant and clever 24 year old daughter suddenly and tragically in an epileptic seizure and a family I have been supporting through my volunteer work lost their 5 year old son after 2 years of bravely fighting leukemia and so secondly, having supported them and having shared their sense of disbelief and unfairness, I needed to replenish and restore my soul and also honour their memory. I certainly feel I was able to do both walking in the solitude and the stunning landscape of this section of the Camino experiencing the sunrises and sunsets and even the beautiful rainbow we had the joy to watch!

The reason I had stopped doing challenges and was only doing volunteering recently was because I had become tired of doing the fundraising for the events and felt I needed a break as well as giving a break to all my wonderful supporters. However, our middle son has recently come back to live with us after graduating from university as his job is only 15 minutes away from our house and this will allow him to save before moving out and also allow him to concentrate on studying and taking all the exams he requires to become a chartered accountant and although thrilled to have him home, it also gave me an idea. As it has been very important to raise our sons to be responsible and to never feel a sense of entitlement, I suggested that he pay a monthly charge for his lodging and especially for my pampering i.e. cooking, washing and ironing with the view that that money would pay for the sponsorship for this challenge.

And now as I also had the privilege to walk with Nina, the founder of Walk the Walk, and be inspired by her passion, vision and commitment to the fight against breast cancer and to providing quality of life to those living with it and as I also felt inspired by a fellow walker for whom this was her 28th event with Walk the Walk and as my son continues to live here and I as I enjoyed the experience so much, I now wonder what Walk the Walk event will I sign up to do next?

Do you feel inspired after reading Ana's beautiful story and would like to join Walk the Walk on a Journey to the Edge of the World in 2020? Enter now, and experience the less travelled path from Santiago to Finisterre... all whilst raising money for vital breast cancer causes. 

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